Last month, Northern California was ravaged by wildfires; 43 people died and more than 15,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. But the question remains: What caused these massive fires in the first place?
Some reports pointed to equipment operated by Pacific Gas and Electric. "We've heard repeated evidence that there were power lines down throughout the region and there were very strong winds that evening," Lagos said. "We've heard that transformers were exploding and people saw power lines arcing. So, from the get-go this has been a key question."
Yesterday, the utility presented its first findings. "They're essentially very short incident reports," explained Lagos. "Mapping out what PG&E has found when they went out in the field, where they found power equipment damage."
PG&E and Cal Fire are continuing their investigations but it may be years until they're concluded. If the utility is found liable, it could have serious ramifications for the company's future. "I think we're really going to be seeing a lot of pressure from lawmakers and other watchdogs as they watch this investigation progress," Lagos added. Already on the radar of legislators like state senator Jerry Hill is making sure rate payers don't catch the brunt of the cost if PG&E is determined to be the culprit.
To hear the full interview with Marisa Lagos about PG&E's role in the Wine Country Fires, click on the media player above.